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[ Also see Epigrams Fancy Gravity Humor Jokes Laughter Levity Merriment Nonsense Paradoxes Pun Repartee Ridicule Satire Smiles Wit ]

As to jest, there ought to be certain things privileged from it--namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, and man's present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity.
      - Francis Bacon

It is dangerous to jest with God, death, or the devil; for the first neither can nor will be mocked; the second mocks all men at one time or another; and the third puts an eternal sarcasm on those that are too familiar with him.
      - J. Beaumont

Jest with your equals.
      - Bion of Smyrna

A joker is near akin to a buffoon; and neither of them is the least related to wit.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

A jest is a very serious thing.
      - Charles Churchill

A joke's a very serious thing.
      - Charles Churchill, Ghost (bk. 4)

A paltry, humbug jest; those who have the least wit make them best.
      - William Combe (Coombe)

A man who could make so vile a pun would not scruple to pick a pocket.
      - John Dennis,
        in "The Gentleman's Magazine", vol. LI, p. 324

It is good to jest, but not to make a trade of jesting.
      - Elizabeth I

Wanton jests make fools laugh, and wise men frown.
      - Thomas Fuller (1)

No time to break jests when the heartstrings are about to be broken.
      - Thomas Fuller (1), Holy and Profane States
         (maxim VIII)

Jest not with the two-edged sword of God's word.
      - Thomas Fuller (1),
        Holy and Profane States--Of Jesting
         (maxim II)

He that will lose his friend for a jest, deserves to die a beggar by the bargain.
      - Thomas Fuller (1),
        Holy and Profane States--Of Jesting
         (maxim VII)

Jests,--brain-fleas that jump about among the slumbering ideas.
      - Heinrich Heine

Less at thine own things laugh; lest in the jest
  Thy person share, and the conceit advance,
    Make not thy sport abuses: for the fly
      That feeds on dung is colored thereby.
      - George Herbert, Temple--Church Porch
         (st. 39)

People that make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks.
      - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.,
        Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (I)

And however are Dennises take offence,
  A double meaning shows double sense;
    And if proverbs tell truth,
      A double tooth
        Is wisdom's adopted dwelling.
      - Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg

The jest which is expected is already destroyed.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Of all the griefs that harass the distress'd,
  Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest;
    Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart,
      Than when a blockhead's insult points the dart.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        London (l. 165)

Jesting, often, only proves a want of intellect.
  [Fr., La moquerie est souvent une indigence d'esprit.]
      - Jean de la Bruyere

Beware of biting jests; the more truth they carry with them, the greater wounds they give, the greater smarts they cause, and the greater scars they leave behind them.
      - Johann Kaspar Lavater (John Caspar Lavater)

Judge of a jest when you have done laughing.
      - Robert Lloyd

Joking decides great things,
  Stronger and better oft than earnest can.
      - John Milton, Horace

That's a good joke but we do it much better in England.
      - General James Edward Oglethorpe,
        so a Prince of Wurtemberg who at dinner flicked some wine in Oglethorpe's face

A jester, a bad character.
  [Fr., Diseur de bon mots, mauvais caractere.]
      - Blaise Pascal, Pensees (art VI, 22)

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